mattau

Why are my power bills so high?

53 posts in this topic

In places which have FRC full retail contestability eg Victoria a customer gets a bill from a retailer. The retailer has to pay the supplier for the transmission and distribution (a daily supply cost including the meter charge and a per KWH price) and the retailer also directly pays the electricity generator.

The retailer is just a billing engine/customer service. I'd need to re-check as new tariffs have just gone through AEMO (Australian Electricity Market Org?) for the distributors for the new year. However for me personally the retailer pays the distributor around $30/$40 per month.

I got to see a demo of an in home display for the smartmeters today - they look really cool. They talk directly to the smartmeter for real time consumption.

I'm also trialling a new distributor website showing my smartmeter usage which is where the interval data came from in a previous post.

WA - just started down the privatisation path. Has a single distributor, a city retailer and a country retailer. Is not part of AEMO but follows a slimmed down version.

VIC - FRC with 5 distributors and around 30 retailers.

NSW - has started to privatise and has plans to fully privatise. Will trial a smartnetwork in the next year/two.

It's amazing how much of our network is owned by the singapore govt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recently received our gas bill. About two-thirds/70% was for service charges and not usage. It was the inverse for our last electricity bill.

We only use gas for hot water so will look into feasibility of solar/electric hot water systems, and get rid of the gas connection.

Last I checked non-usage charges made up a significant percentage for water bills. If you are able to go "off the grid" or at least consolidate your power then you can pay less in admin charges... not sure if it will provide for a net saving though, haven't done the figures yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"About two-thirds/70% was for service charges and not usage." - It's getting pretty ridiculous isn't it?

Time to make more money!...?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recently received our gas bill. About two-thirds/70% was for service charges and not usage. It was the inverse for our last electricity bill.

We only use gas for hot water so will look into feasibility of solar/electric hot water systems, and get rid of the gas connection.

Do you realise that your service-usage breakdown pattern is a result of your electricity-dependent consumption and you could tilt this pattern by turning off/removing electric devices and adding/turning on gas devices? The question you should ask is: Can I save more by removing gas as a utility or by removing wasteful electricity consumption?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you realise that your service-usage breakdown pattern is a result of your electricity-dependent consumption and you could tilt this pattern by turning off/removing electric devices and adding/turning on gas devices? The question you should ask is: Can I save more by removing gas as a utility or by removing wasteful electricity consumption?

I already practice some behaviours to reduce electricity consumption:

- turn appliances off at the wall when not using

- only use heating/cooling when absolutely necessary

- buy devices with 'good' electricity rating

- simple insulation techniques

- live in a small house

- only wash clothes with a full load

- lights off when not in the room

- etc.

Not sure what else I can do. Any suggestions?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was just trying to point out that there lies a danger in everybody moving towards electricity-only lifestyles especially transportation. The electricity-industry will milk us for all it is worth when we removed our alternatives.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I already practice some behaviours to reduce electricity consumption:

- turn appliances off at the wall when not using

- only use heating/cooling when absolutely necessary

- buy devices with 'good' electricity rating

- simple insulation techniques

- live in a small house

- only wash clothes with a full load

- lights off when not in the room

- etc.

Not sure what else I can do. Any suggestions?

A friend of mine halved their electricity consumption by turning down the thermostat on the electric hot water service.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A friend of mine halved their electricity consumption by turning down the thermostat on the electric hot water service.

Thanks for sharing, sounds like a very handy tip!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

<snip>

Came across an article which explains that the reason why bills are getting higher is due to the electricity intensive lifestyles that many Aussies now have - e.g use of computers, TV, wifi, etc.

<snip>

What are your thoughts?

Yes, all of a sudden, within the space of 3 months, every household increased the number of electricity connected gadgets in their house by 20% resulting in a 20% increase in the value of their electricity invoice.

I do agree that the average household would use more electricity than 20 years ago, because:

* A greater number of lights in the ceiling

* LCD and plasma televisions using more power than the CRT televisions they replaced

* A greater number of air conditioners in use in lieu of wearing a jumper or snuggling under a blanket in the winter or simply just hardening up in the summer

And now people are talking of electric cars!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, all of a sudden, within the space of 3 months, every household increased the number of electricity connected gadgets in their house by 20% resulting in a 20% increase in the value of their electricity invoice.

I do agree that the average household would use more electricity than 20 years ago, because:

* A greater number of lights in the ceiling

* LCD and plasma televisions using more power than the CRT televisions they replaced

* A greater number of air conditioners in use in lieu of wearing a jumper or snuggling under a blanket in the winter or simply just hardening up in the summer

And now people are talking of electric cars!

it was rare to have ac when i was a kid. now it's almost a given. ac is a huge user of power.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

we are installing ewlectric rail and a electreic desal plant here in SA, and no talk of building capacity to produce, it. but we will have a nice glass of warm water to console us in those hot sumer days, when our aircons are off to keep the trains running.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

we are installing ewlectric rail and a electreic desal plant here in SA, and no talk of building capacity to produce, it. but we will have a nice glass of warm water to console us in those hot sumer days, when our aircons are off to keep the trains running.

at least you don't have to drink poo. that is the back up option in seq.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A rash of reports recently about the cost of power. 

 

Investment in poles and wires it turns out has a guaranteed return which has encouraged over investment. We have gold plated infrastructure.

 

This has been responsible for a majority of the increase in power costs. 

 

The blame for increasing power costs has been laid at the feet of renewables and a price on carbon.

 

The actual reasons why the electricity generators want to get rid of renewables is power consumption has fallen by 13% in four years against industry predictions due to the unprecedented take up of rooftop solar. There is a surplus in power generation. The centralised power generation business model is facing competition and found wanting. Rather than adapt they have chosen to try to maintain the status quo.

 

Amazingly, we have a government willing to fight like luddites the advance of technology and market forces! I wonder how much longer the Liberal party can claim to be the party of the free market rather than the party of vested interests. 

 

As unit costs for solar decrease distributed power production is becoming a reality. 

 

The best the vested interest party can produce is a rear guard "clean coal" bullsh*t option. What a joke.

 

I didn't mind removing the protection for the car manufacturing industry. IMHO the writing is on the wall and unless we favour decreasing our living standards to the point where we can compete with low tech, low wage countries.

 

We need high tech, innovation industries. Why then in the face of a world moving away from fossil fuel are we defending the fossil fuel industry?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A rash of reports recently about the cost of power. 

 

Investment in poles and wires it turns out has a guaranteed return which has encouraged over investment. We have gold plated infrastructure.

 

This has been responsible for a majority of the increase in power costs. 

 

The blame for increasing power costs has been laid at the feet of renewables and a price on carbon.

 

The actual reasons why the electricity generators want to get rid of renewables is power consumption has fallen by 13% in four years against industry predictions due to the unprecedented take up of rooftop solar. There is a surplus in power generation. The centralised power generation business model is facing competition and found wanting. Rather than adapt they have chosen to try to maintain the status quo.

 

Amazingly, we have a government willing to fight like luddites the advance of technology and market forces! I wonder how much longer the Liberal party can claim to be the party of the free market rather than the party of vested interests. 

 

As unit costs for solar decrease distributed power production is becoming a reality. 

 

The best the vested interest party can produce is a rear guard "clean coal" bullsh*t option. What a joke.

 

I didn't mind removing the protection for the car manufacturing industry. IMHO the writing is on the wall and unless we favour decreasing our living standards to the point where we can compete with low tech, low wage countries.

 

We need high tech, innovation industries. Why then in the face of a world moving away from fossil fuel are we defending the fossil fuel industry?  

 

I think it was in the ABC's 7:30 Report where they showed this guy's house in western Sydney who invested in Solar Panels on his entire roof, where the electricity was being stored in his own battery cells he had installed on the side of the house, making him 50% self-sufficient (he needed to install another battery unit to be 100% self-sufficient). Unfortunately, he did not state the brand name for the battery unit (I don't think he made it himself). Once that technology becomes affordable, I expect to be looking at it closely. It is what stops me from moving into solar panels as the inability to store the electricity makes solar panels relatively useless to me as other than the fridge, there is not a lot more electricity being consumed during the day when there is nobody at home during the week. My combined electricity & gas bill is currently around $425/quarter for a family of 4. So it is better than others I know who are spending over twice as much!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it was in the ABC's 7:30 Report where they showed this guy's house in western Sydney who invested in Solar Panels on his entire roof, where the electricity was being stored in his own battery cells he had installed on the side of the house, making him 50% self-sufficient (he needed to install another battery unit to be 100% self-sufficient). Unfortunately, he did not state the brand name for the battery unit (I don't think he made it himself). Once that technology becomes affordable, I expect to be looking at it closely. It is what stops me from moving into solar panels as the inability to store the electricity makes solar panels relatively useless to me as other than the fridge, there is not a lot more electricity being consumed during the day when there is nobody at home during the week. My combined electricity & gas bill is currently around $425/quarter for a family of 4. So it is better than others I know who are spending over twice as much!

 

It was a no brainer to get solar in QLD a few years back, and those that signed up to the deal then are still getting it (new connections get a much crappier deal). Get paid 44c kwh, while as you say you're only using a tiny amount to power the fridge etc during the day. Then pay 27c kwh (or 18c off peak water heating) during the times you use the most power. It was a brain fart of a policy; no, it was brain shart of a policy.

 

Battery storage technology will become affordable at some point, I'd say well within the next 5-10 years. At that point the power companies are going to have a real problem. Most people off the grid, but having to maintain the 'wires & poles' for the few that are still on the grid. At that point those still left on grid will be the big users of power and those with not enough roof space (eg businesses, high rise dwellings etc). I guess most residences will get cheaper power, but pay more for everything they buy from businesses - those living in multi level will be screwed from both directions. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was a no brainer to get solar in QLD a few years back, and those that signed up to the deal then are still getting it (new connections get a much crappier deal). Get paid 44c kwh, while as you say you're only using a tiny amount to power the fridge etc during the day. Then pay 27c kwh (or 18c off peak water heating) during the times you use the most power. It was a brain fart of a policy; no, it was brain shart of a policy.

 

Battery storage technology will become affordable at some point, I'd say well within the next 5-10 years. At that point the power companies are going to have a real problem. Most people off the grid, but having to maintain the 'wires & poles' for the few that are still on the grid. At that point those still left on grid will be the big users of power and those with not enough roof space (eg businesses, high rise dwellings etc). I guess most residences will get cheaper power, but pay more for everything they buy from businesses - those living in multi level will be screwed from both directions. 

 

I think NSW was originally around 60c/kwh, but solar panels were more expensive to buy than now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's quite dependent on the state. WA's bills are skyrocketing because 2 years ago the retailer was charging 12c/kwh and they are trying to get it upto 20c/kwh in line with costs. Vic hasn't been very bad, with smartmeters adding a minor daily cost increase. A big part of it is just usage - people have more stuff.

I've had a chance to see my 30 minute interval usage recently and it's interesting to see my baseline. My usage is shown below with each row showing a day. My baseline hovers around 150 - 200 watts per hour which appears to be a little below average.

Edit was to attach the usage. It's csv but I couldn't load it with that extension.

 

It's quite dependent on the state. WA's bills are skyrocketing because 2 years ago the retailer was charging 12c/kwh and they are trying to get it upto 20c/kwh in line with costs. Vic hasn't been very bad, with smartmeters adding a minor daily cost increase. A big part of it is just usage - people have more stuff.

I've had a chance to see my 30 minute interval usage recently and it's interesting to see my baseline. My usage is shown below with each row showing a day. My baseline hovers around 150 - 200 watts per hour which appears to be a little below average.

Edit was to attach the usage. It's csv but I couldn't load it with that extension.

Not sure how I got to this thread. Could be the Vodka, orthe lysdexia. Anyway...

 

My power bills have shot up recently. Could be new boarders using more power but...

Found my last power bill. Paying $0.2801 for peak, $0.2099 for water heating and $75per quarter just to have the power on. Paying $2.71 for them processing my payment -  I would have thought processing payments was a business expense that can't be shafted to the consumer - I'm calling ACA!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure how I got to this thread. Could be the Vodka, orthe lysdexia. Anyway...

 

My power bills have shot up recently. Could be new boarders using more power but...

Found my last power bill. Paying $0.2801 for peak, $0.2099 for water heating and $75per quarter just to have the power on. Paying $2.71 for them processing my payment -  I would have thought processing payments was a business expense that can't be shafted to the consumer - I'm calling ACA!!!

I'm on an economy drive. I called my power retailer (QLD - AGL) and they'll offer me 14% off these prices if I sign up for two years. Is it a good deal?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMO, still not cost effective

 

How battery-powered homes are unplugging Australia

Solar and battery is starting to become a real alternative to mains power. It will continue to come down in price and increase in utility. The more people who do it, the more expensive mains power becomes. If my street has 100 houses, then there 100 people paying for the maintenance of poles. If there are only 3 houses on the grid then obviously those on the grid will have to pay more for the poles. 

 

I reckon that within five years I'll install solar and batteries and get off the grid, as power companies charge more and the cost of my generation and storage decreases. The saving grace will be all those who signed up for government systems where they insanely get paid more for their power generation than they pay. 

 

Guess whos going to cop it from both ends? Renters. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Solar and battery is starting to become a real alternative to mains power. It will continue to come down in price and increase in utility. The more people who do it, the more expensive mains power becomes. If my street has 100 houses, then there 100 people paying for the maintenance of poles. If there are only 3 houses on the grid then obviously those on the grid will have to pay more for the poles. 

 

I reckon that within five years I'll install solar and batteries and get off the grid, as power companies charge more and the cost of my generation and storage decreases. The saving grace will be all those who signed up for government systems where they insanely get paid more for their power generation than they pay. 

 

Guess whos going to cop it from both ends? Renters. 

 

I would also do it, but I don't think that it is going to work. You can see that power companies work backwards: they start off with the profit that they want to make (there was an article from a whistleblower in QLD about this) and then they figure out how they will adjust their billing accordingly.

 

The amount of solar in QLD has forced them to increase the supply charge to hit their target, from 91.751c per day to 128.018c per day (a 39.52% increase to about $467.50 annualised). They even slightly decreased the price of the main tariff 11 in the process. Another couple years of this and we will face the same model as water where the bulk of your bill is the access charge (unless you are a ridiculously heavy user) so you don't bother to limit consumption. I'm sure the increase in water efficient appliances, toilet cisterns, taps etc. led to the water companies having to change their billing model (apparently after the last drought water consumption never reached prior levels).

 

I also think that there will be a supply charge for electricity if there are cables in the street, the same as water. There will be no way around it unless you live in the bush. Cop it in both ends alright...

 

 

Why am I charged a water access or sewerage access fee when I am on tank water or have a septic tank? Hide

If water and sewerage services can be reasonably made available to a property (i.e. the infrastructure is running past the property boundary), the property owner is obliged to contribute towards the upkeep of these assets (i.e. in the form of access charges)

The access charge applies for each utility (water and/or sewerage) that can service the property, even if there is no connection to this infrastructure.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also think that there will be a supply charge for electricity if there are cables in the street, the same as water. There will be no way around it unless you live in the bush. Cop it in both ends alright...

 

I think you could be, and probably will be, right. I have to pay ~800pa for water and poo, whether I use a single drop of water or flush one turd. I'm a fairly heavy user of water, but the consumption charge is only around $400pa.

 

As you say power could end up the same way. 

 

Not many people have independent water and sewerage. But if solar and storage becomes affordable enough then I imagine a hell of a lot of households will go off grid. In which case it may be cheaper for power companies to allow the poles to rot and install capture and storage systems on all 'grid' customers and charge them a rental fee (supply charge) to have power. Or perhaps just operate very local grids where the poles are just between me (non generator) and my two over generating neighbours. The problem is very large (factories, shopping centres, CBDs etc) consumers of power could never produce enough power and will always have to rely on the grid - so the grid has to be there. 

 

Utilities, especially power, is a good revenue source for governments so they will be very reluctant to let go of it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now